What Is Reiki?

Reiki is a technique for stress reduction that also promotes healing. During a session, the patient remains clothed and the practitioner’s hands are placed near or lightly touching various parts of the body, including areas around the head, shoulders, stomach, legs, and feet. Most patients report feelings of relaxation, and patients often fall asleep during a session. Sessions can last from ten minutes to more than an hour, depending upon available time.

The Reiki technique was developed in Japan in 1920. It was brought to the US in 1937 by Hawayo Takata and has gradually gained in popularity. A study done in 2007 by the National Health Interview Survey indicates that 1.2 million adults and 161,000 children received one or more sessions of energy healing therapy such as Reiki in the previous year. According to the American Hospital Association, in 2007, 15% or over 800 American hospitals offered Reiki as part of hospital services. A student can learn to give Reiki sessions during a weekend class, although advanced skills require additional training.

The Reiki programs offered in hospitals are often administered by hospital staff who have taken Reiki training and are sometimes complemented by lay practitioners who have taken a hospital orientation class. The popularity of Reiki in hospitals has been largely driven by requests from patients and by nurses and doctors who have experienced its value. They report that Reiki reduces stress, decreases the amount of pain medication required, improves sleep and appetite, and accelerates the healing process. It has also been reported to reduce many of the unwanted side effects of radiation and drugs, including chemotherapy.

 
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